Iraq War Vet Treats PTSD With Holistic Approach

16 October 2016 Written by 

After serving in Iraq from 2004-2005 as an infantry soldier, Tom Voss decided to put the war behind him and get his life on track. He enrolled in school, got a civilian job and moved into his own place. However, about a year later the horrors of war started to catch up to him. While overseas he witnessed the deaths of both his platoon sergeant and his squad leader and faced enemy attacks almost daily.

 “I was 20 years old when I was there and when you’re in a combat situation, you don’t have a lot of time to process these things,” Voss, now 32, told

The emotions that Voss had bottled up started to manifest themselves in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Voss stopped attending classes and withdrew himself from society. He also began to self-medicate with alcohol and would become black-out drunk in order to sleep at night. Voss said he knew his life was spiraling out of control and it was time to seek help.

Emma Seppala, a psychologist and author of “The Happiness Track,” told that traditional treatments for PTSD include talk therapy and medicine, but for some it does not resolve the issue. Voss fell into the latter category. He had undergone many hours of talk therapy and was depending on a battery of drugs that were not helping him resolve the underlying issues.

For patients like Voss, Seppala said there is another option which involves a holistic approach. “We wanted to look at a new methodology; breathing-based meditation practices called Sudarshan Kriya Yoga,” she told This practice is an active breathing exercise that studies have shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rates in minutes, which is key to reducing the anxiety and stress related to PTSD.

Voss had heard about Seppala and this new approach to treating mental illness but was skeptical. Desperate for relief, Voss began practicing the techniques and noticed some of his symptoms had diminished. “One of the major things that happened through this workshop was that the relationship that I had with those traumatic events in my past completely shifted,” Voss said. He suffered from survivor’s guilt and practicing the breathing exercises and yoga began to change his perspective on what happened in Iraq.

Content Originally Published By: Avinash Ramsadeen@ Fox News

Read 407 times Last modified on Tuesday, 01 November 2016 16:33
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